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What is gout in the toe?

A:

Quick Answer

Gout in the toe is a painful form of arthritis caused by a build up of uric acid in the body, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Uric acid forms sharp crystals in the joint of the big toe that can cause pain, swelling, redness, heat and stiffness, and tophi, which are lumpy deposits of uric acid under the skin, according to the NIAMS.

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What is gout in the toe?
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Full Answer

A build up of uric acid in the body occurs when the body makes more uric acid than normal, the kidneys can't clear it out of the blood quickly enough, or the patient eats too much food high in purines, which the body breaks down to form uric acid. Gout in the big toe is often the first flare up of gout, which usually comes on quickly and happens at night, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Gout can also affect the instep, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows, according to the NIAMS. Being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, having a family member with gout, eating foods rich in purines, an enzyme defect that makes it hard for the body to break down purines, lead exposure, an organ transplant, taking niacin, and taking certain medicines such as aspirin, diuretics, cyclosporine and levodopa, all predispose an individual to developing gout, as noted by the NIAMS.

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